Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What Services Do You Offer?

Each client has specific needs and will probably require some mix of these editing services. All services are the same hourly rate, but naturally, each added level of editing adds time to the total hours.

I edit nonfiction at all the levels described below. I edit fiction at level 1 (mechanical editing) only.

Writers on a tight budget will want to limit themselves to mechanical editing, while those serious about improving their book's content might desire more substantive editing.

Mechanical Editing (also called level-1 editing)
Mechanical editing is what most people think of when they hear "copy editing." Some people call it "proof reading" (though technically, proof reading is different). Mechanical editing includes sentence-level corrections of grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, word choice, and styling per a specific style guide (such as APA, MLA, Chicago, or your university's/publisher's style sheet).

Substantive Editing (level 2)
Level-2 substantive editing moves from a sentence level to a paragraph level. Entire sentences might be rearranged to make a paragraph work better. It includes light fact-checking (such as the spelling of a famous person's name) and fixing of segues between topics. It looks lightly at the "flow" of the argument.

Substantive Editing (level 3)
This level might include paragraph-level editing of organization, meaning, and flow and document-level editing of organization, consistency, and audience-specific meaning. It can include, if desired, verification of information (proper names, dates, sources, etc.) and fact checking. It can even include writing and/or rewriting of sections that are incomplete or just not quite "coming together." I do substantive editing for nonfiction works only.

Developmental Editing
If you are a beginning writer or perhaps a great writer in one genre but inexperienced in another, you might benefit from a more developmental approach to editing. This is where I serve as somewhat of a writing coach for you, deeply investigating your text and giving in-depth feedback on how to make your writing stronger. I do developmental editing for nonfiction works only.

Design Editing
Design editing looks at the words on a page but also pays attention to color, white-space, and placement of graphics with text. Design editing is useful for book interiors, book covers, advertisements, and mixed-media presentations. I have worked with many different designers to respectfully edit their design work while still endorsing their design decisions and expertise.

A "design edit" of a book's interior checks for anything that might be irritating, distracting, or unattractive to the book's future readers. These might include having too many hyphen breaks at the end of lines (such as three or four in a row in one paragraph), having too much or too little spacing around headlines, subheads, and indented (block) quotations, unappealing page-number or running-head placement, and myriad other details. I follow a design checklist to make sure I check everything from white space around page numbers to readability in footnote font.

Book Design
The design of your book will be decided by your publisher. But if you are self-publishing, then you'll possibly want to hire a book designer, who can lay out all the "guts" of a book, including font choice, margin design, page-number placement, graphic placement, page layout, and creation of table of contents, indexes, etc. My book-design clients are provided both a PDF (ready for printing) and an InDesign file of the entire book that can be easily updated for future book editions.